health plans
health plans

The high cost of health insurance threatens Main Street. It’s time for Congress to act

Ever-rising health insurance costs are crippling America’s job creators and communities nationwide. For four decades, the cost of health insurance has been the No. 1 problem for small businesses. The problem is now exploding into a crisis, according to the latest survey from the National Federation of Independent Business. A stunning 97 percent of small businesses report that health care costs will become unsustainable for them within the next decade.

Small business owners are being forced to make tough decisions in response to these skyrocketing costs. The percentage of small businesses offering health insurance has dropped dramatically in the last decade from roughly 40 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, the businesses that do offer coverage have no choice but to pass rising costs on to their customers. Almost half of small employers (46 percent) report raising their prices. And half of small employers earn less due to health insurance premium increases over the last five years.

Small business owners desperately want to take care of their employees, but the broken health insurance system makes it harder to compete in attracting top talent. Main Street faces higher costs than large corporations because small businesses don’t have the same market power and face higher regulatory requirements and mandates.

Take NFIB small business owner member Kelly Moore. Kelly and her husband, Greg, are the proud owners of a National Automotive Parts Association small business in Ohio. Like many others, they’ve had to make once unthinkable choices to keep their businesses afloat. They used to offer a group health plan, contributing to 80 percent of their employees’ premiums. Skyrocketing premiums ultimately forced them to terminate the benefit, which Kelly says was gut-wrenching.

Small business owners like Kelly and Greg have been warning elected leaders for four straight decades about

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Health Insurance | Student Affairs

Student Eligibility and Enrollment Information

required-med-insuranceRequired Medical Insurance

Massachusetts State Law requires that all college students be enrolled in a health insurance program that meets the required benefits established by the state.

All matriculating, undergraduate students, enrolled in one or more credit hours; and all matriculating, graduate students enrolled in nine or more credit hours are eligible and will be charged for health insurance.

Please note that all students who withdraw from or drop all of their classes within the first 31 calendar days of the academic semester will not be allowed to be enrolled in the university student health insurance plan.

online-studentsOnline Students

Online courses are not considered eligible for credits. Students enrolled exclusively in online classes only are not eligible for this plan.

international-studentsInternational Students

The University of Massachusetts Lowell requires that all international students must enroll in the university student health insurance plan. The university does not consider foreign insurance or travel insurance as comparable coverage to waive the university health insurance.

If you are covered by an embassy-sponsored health insurance plan and provide a Student Financial Services Office with your financial guarantee prior to the waiver deadline, you will not be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan.

If you are covered by a health insurance plan that is filed and approved in the United States, please contact University Health Plans at 800-437-6448. The United States health insurance plan must provide Minimum Essential Coverage as defined by the Affordable Care Act and include the following benefits in the campus area.

  • Unlimited policy maximum
  • Pre-existing condition coverage
  • Non-emergency medical services
  • Mental/behavioral health care
  • Pregnancy and maternity coverage
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Preventative and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Repatriation and medical evacuation

Please note, health insurance plans marketed solely to international students are generally

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Best Health Insurance Stocks to Buy in 2023

Investing in companies that offer essential products and services can be a smart wealth-building strategy. Like it or not, health insurance ranks as one of the most important necessities for Americans today.

What are the top health insurance stocks to watch? And, what do you need to know before investing in them? As the major health insurers might say, “We’ve got you covered.”

Health insurance document, stethoscope, and bills.

Source: Getty Images

Top health insurance stocks for 2023

Here are four publicly traded health insurance companies and one exchange-traded fund (ETF) likely to perform well this year:

1. UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (UNH -0.53%) ranks as the biggest health insurer in the world by far. Its UnitedHealthcare business unit offers health plans for employers and individuals and is also a major player in the market for Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplemental plans, and Medicaid.

The company’s Optum business segment provides information- and technology-enabled health services, including OptumRx pharmacy benefits management (PBM) services. While UnitedHealthcare generates more than three-fourths of the company’s total revenue, Optum is the bigger growth driver for UnitedHealth Group.

Optum could soon grow even larger. It plans to acquire home health provider LHC Group (NASDAQ:LHCG) for $5.4 billion this year. Optum already owns primary care and ambulatory surgery center facilities. The move into home health is a natural next step. However, the deal must first be approved by regulators.

2. Anthem

Although Anthem (ANTM -1.14%) is only a fraction of the size of UnitedHealth Group in terms of market capitalization, it’s still one of the largest health insurers. Anthem operates Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans in 14 states but is licensed to sell health insurance throughout the country.

It competes in the same arenas as UnitedHealth Group, with offerings that include employer-sponsored and individual health plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicare

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Best Cheap Health Insurance in Louisiana (2023)

Finding the best health plan with the coverage to fit your needs can be challenging, so we compared health insurance plans in Louisiana by metal tier in order to determine the most affordable policies available for each level of coverage. The insurers and policies below may not be available in your region, but you can use this information as a starting point to compare the costs and benefits you can expect from a given metal tier.

For example, the Christus Silver plan has a minimum monthly premium of $496 (before subsidies) for a 40-year-old in Louisiana shopping for Silver coverage. This is $57 less than the monthly premium for the cheapest Gold plan. In exchange for this lower rate, you would have to pay more out of pocket — the Silver health plan’s deductible, for example, is $1,250 greater than that of the Gold plan.

Bronze Christus Bronze $389 $9,100 $9,100
Silver Christus Silver $496 $2,000 $8,400
gold Ambetter Everyday Gold $553 $750 $7,500

Two factors that greatly affect your monthly health insurance premiums are metal tier and age. The metal tier, or coverage tier, affects how much money you pay out of pocket. You have lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance with higher tiers — but also higher monthly premiums.

And as your age increases, the monthly health insurance rates you have to pay increase across metal tiers. For a Silver health care plan, a 40-year-old in Louisiana pays 28% more on average than a 21-year-old for the same level of coverage. A 60-year-old pays 112% more than a 40-year-old for the same health plan.

Cost of health insurance in Louisiana

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the availability and costs of policies vary depending on the region in which you live. Higher metal tier health plans, like Gold plans, come

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Oscar, Bright, and Clover Failed to Disrupt Health Insurance

  • The health insurers Oscar, Clover, and Bright set out to disrupt the health-insurance industry.
  • High barriers to entry and operational missteps kept them from upending much of anything.
  • Americans are left with a costly, complex system ruled by dominant insurers that only grows bigger.

About a decade ago, a new breed of health insurer began to emerge. Armed with billions in venture capital, these upstarts bet that they could use modern technology to make healthcare better, cheaper, and simpler to navigate.

Oscar Health drummed up buzz with eye-catching New York subway ads and a cofounder named Kushner. The Reddit-famous Clover Health won the seal of approval from the investor Chamath Palihapitiya. In Bright Health’s case, its founders’ connections to UnitedHealthcare, the biggest, richest US health insurer, gave it some credibility.

Hype swelled around these companies, and they notched massive valuations before each went public in 2021.

Today, they’re mostly the poster children of just how challenging it is to break into the insurance industry. No longer new enough to be called startups, they continue to face setbacks, and their losses grow deeper. While their CEOs are talking about finally breaking even soon, the companies are having to rein in growth when they’ve barely got a toehold to begin with.

Any disruption has been limited, to say the least.

“I don’t think they’ve had much of an impact,” Lawton Robert Burns, a professor of healthcare management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said.

The insurers’ failure to disrupt the industry raises a key question: Is it possible for any startup to displace — or even compete with — established giants such as United Healthcare and Humana? As the prospects for fixing the costly and complicated system dim, the consequences could be grave.

“We have a high-cost healthcare system that’s just

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